Among the major peaks of the Apennines and the waters of the Adriatic lies a land rich in attractions.
More than 22 million cases of wine are produced annually in Abruzzo, making it the seventh most productive region in Italy, but only 21.5% of which is made under the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) designation.
The dominant varieties of the region are the red Montepulciano and the white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo grape. Montepulciano is the fifth most widely planted red grape variety in Italy, the grape is noted for producing darkly colored, tannic wines with low acidity, and some aging potential. Trebbiano wines tend to be low in extract and acidity with faint aromatics that can be lightly floral. However, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo tends to be much more complex when compared to Trebbiano Toscano.
Verdicchio, as the name suggests was named after the green color of its berries. Verdicchio grapes ripen slowly and evenly and always maintain high levels of tartaric acid, meaning that these wines can be crisp and refreshing but also very age- worthy. Verdicchio wines are very floral and delicately fruity, and older wines have a distinct flintiness. In both the young and aged expressions, Verdicchio often has a sweet almond-marzipan note.
Trebbiano Abruzzese is the correct and official name of the variety, often confused with Bombino Bianco. Trebbiano Abruzzese is a real gem, with high quality wines presenting a hint of white flowers and stone fruit on the nose, a creamy mouthfeel, and plenty of acidity with a citrusy minerality. Characterized by large leaves with five lobes and large long pyramidal bunches, the berries’ color is a deep straw-green when fully ripe.
This grape takes its name from the shephards who used to eat its berries while accompanyning their flocks of sheep up and down the valleys serching for food. Pecorino is usually delicately herbal with balsamic nuances to crisp apple and pear aromas and flavors. As the wine ages it develops an almost milky, cheesy aroma. Acidity is high in these typically medium-bodied wines.
The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape is often confused with the Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is actually Sangiovese. The Montepulciano grape is one of the most widely planted grapes in Italy, and creates easy drinking wines, that can either be made without oak for soft and approachable wines or with oak, making rich, tannic, powerful, and dark wines.
Medium-bodied red wines like Montepulciano generally pair with a wide variety of foods due to natural elevated acidity. However, with Montepulciano, the robust herbal and tobacco-like flavors with grippy tannin often call for richer and more savory foods. Montepulciano will cut through some of the meatiest meats (like beef brisket) and pair nicely alongside rich, roasted winter vegetables. If you learn only one tip about pairing with Montepulciano, it is to match it with something with fat food.